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Controversial Bottled Blonde Inches Closer To Trial With City

By Kelly Bauer | July 11, 2017 11:05am
 Photos from Bottled Blonde show people wearing items that were apparently banned in their controversial new dress code.
Photos from Bottled Blonde show people wearing items that were apparently banned in their controversial new dress code.
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Facebook/Bottled Blonde

DOWNTOWN — The Bottled Blonde moved closer to a trial with the city — during which its liquor license will hang in the balance — after a Tuesday morning hearing.

The hearing lasted just minutes, but it attracted about a half-dozen neighbors of the controversial River North restaurant at 504 N. Wells St. Those neighbors have said the Bottled Blonde, which bills itself as a pizzeria, is actually a nightclub and has proven "dangerous" for the area.

The Bottled Blonde will have another meeting with the city on Aug. 1. It'll set a date for the trial to start then.

The city alleges the Bottled Blonde sold alcohol as its primary activity but didn't have a tavern license, failed to keep patrons trying to get into the restaurant in a single line of no more than 25 people, and didn't monitor its exterior to reduce noise, littering and public intoxication, among other things.

If those charges are sustained, the Bottled Blonde could be fined or have its licenses suspended or revoked, a city spokesman said.

Watch the video neighbors made about the Bottled Blonde:

Neighbors have been unhappy with the restaurant for years, saying the patrons spill out of the Bottled Blonde and urinate, vomit, drink and do drugs in the surrounding area. The business is often too loud or has too many people, neighbors said, and those living in the area have to call police regularly.

"Ever since Bottled Blonde moved into the neighborhood, they have done everything ... to violate their operating agreement," neighbor Miriam Waltz said after a June 6 hearing. "The neighborhood's been dangerous. Drunken patrons leave. There's been fighting in the street. There's been vomiting, urination in our alley.

"I was actually accosted in the lobby entrance of our building at one point by patrons of Bottled Blonde that were drunk. It's really created a dangerous situation for us."

The neighbors have said they plan to keep attending the Bottled Blonde hearings regardless of how long the process takes.

Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) has said the Bottled Blonde has "generated hundred of complaints" from people in the area since it opened, and it's been investigated by the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection several times.

"Bottled Blonde has not been a responsible restaurant operator in River North since the day they opened and remains a chronic source of quality-of-life complaints from my constituents," Reilly said.

The Bottled Blonde gained national attention when it launched a controversial dress code in May. The lengthy dress code bans patrons from wearing "obnoxious" prints, "odd-colored" pants, Jordans, men's jewelry and other items.

People flooded Bottled Blonde's social media pages, leaving it poor Yelp reviews and taking to Facebook and Instagram to slam the policy and restaurant.

The full dress code:

• Bottled Blonde will maintain a classy atmosphere and reserves the right to refuse service to anyone. A high standard of dress is required at all times. Dress code is on a case-by-case basis, and is at the sole discretion of the Door Staff. In all instances, the Door Staff's decision is final. If denied entry, changing your appearance will not change the decision. The following lists are guidelines and are subject to change at any time without notice.

• No bad attitude or behavior

• No excessively baggie, sagging, ripped, dirty, frayed, overly flashy or bright clothing

• No matching colors of the shoes, hat and/or shirt

• No Hawaiian, tie dye, floral, skull prints or anything else obnoxious

A Yelp review criticizing the Bottled Blonde. [Yelp]

• No gang attire (leather cuts, colors or insignia) and no camouflage

• No embellishments or statement jackets, shirts, beanies or hats

• No rude, vulgar or offensive clothing

• No overly large purses or bags. Backpacks must be coat checked if available

• No skateboards, hoverboards or animals

• No plain white tees, long tees, denim, flannel (not even around one's waist) or zippers on shirts

• No cut-off shirts, deep V-necks, undershirts or mesh shirts. Tank tops before 6 p.m. only

• No sports jerseys (except during games and of the appropriate team)

• No Tapout, Ed Hardy, Affliction or MMA brands

• No shearling/fur, leather, jean jackets, short-sleeve hoodies or overly long hoodies

• No puffer/quilted jackets or vests and no novelty sweaters

• No hoodies underneath shirts or jackets

• No overalls, cargo, bleached/stone/acid-washed, odd-colored or leather pants

• No joggers, manpris, drop crotch pants or pants with numerous zippers

• No athletic wear, like Under Armour, sweats, gym shoes and etc.

• No compression pants underneath shorts or rolled-up jeans

• No jean shorts, and other shorts must be no longer than 1 inch past your knees

• No Jordans, Nike Air Max or Air Force [shoes]

• No high tops, high socks or athletic sneakers (Chucks and Vans are allowed)

• Shoes are required at all times (no sandals after 8 p.m.)

• Dress boots must be fully laced up (no work boots)

• Hats must be worn at all times (no stickers or tags)

• No brimless headgear

• No male jewelry (chains are not allowed in the establishment at all)

• No visible tattoos on neck, face or hands

Read the charges: